DTE Energy Co. has received state approval to purchase three wind parks in Michigan to build what it says will be the largest clean energy operations in the state.
The Michigan Public Service Commission approved the Detroit-based company’s plan to buy two wind parks in Isabella County in mid-Michigan and one in Delta County in the Upper Peninsula, according to a Thursday news release from DTE. Decisions on the company’s renewable energy plans beyond the three wind parks are to be determined as the company “failed to prove” that parks built in 2021 or later can be cost-effective compared to alternative sources of renewable energy, according to a news release from the state.
DTE plans to buy wind parks Isabella I and Isabella II from Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy for a 383-megawatt operation – the largest renewable energy project ever for the company. DTE also intends to purchase Fairbanks Wind in the U.P. from Traverse City-based Heritage Sustainable Energy to create a 72-megawatt park.
Terms of the planned purchase were not disclosed, nor was DTE’s planned investment in the parks.
The wind parks in Isabella County are scheduled to begin operation by November 2020, while the wind park in the U.P. will be running by October 2020, the state said. The parks would increase DTE’s renewable energy portfolio nearly 50 percent, adding a total of 455 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power 107,000 homes.
DTE will purchase the Isabella County wind farms after they are developed by Rosebush, Mich.-based Isabella Wind.
“Investing in renewable energy is a key part of our commitment to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2040,” Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy, said in the release. “We also have aggressive plans to expand our voluntary renewable energy programs, enabling more customers to reduce their carbon footprint and meet personal or business sustainability goals.”
DTE has invested more than $2.8 billion in renewable assets since 2009, with plans to invest another $2 billion over the next five years. At the same time, the utility is working to close three coal-fired plants by 2022 and cut carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030. DTE and Jackson-based Consumers Energy Co. have pledged to eliminate coal by 2040.
At least two of DTE’s new wind parks will be used to meet the needs of its largest industrial customers, such as Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan, each of which have enrolled in the company’s green energy program MIGreenPower.
DTE said it will roll out a “suite of voluntary renewable energy programs” to complement its current programs for residents and small businesses and large commercial customers.
The state said the company will launch two pilot solar programs with “battery storage, microgrid technology, and/or electric vehicle charging” totaling 15 megwatts. Further details were not provided.
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